Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

My approach to test preparation can be summed up by three primary focuses - rest, nutrition, and time. First off, although everyone says getting enough sleep is important I have found that not all rest is created equal. When it comes time to prepare for a test I never watch TV close to bedtime, turn my phone completely off overnight, and usually put on an eye mask if it the room isn't totally dark. If I'm studying hard during the day and get tired I just take a nap so that I'm careful to never push too hard or pull the infamous "all-nighter". These habits can really improve quality of sleep.

Second, what I eat and when I eat it before a test is crucial. Having light, natural foods available in small quantities throughout the day while studying and never eating right before bed ensures that I stay energized and focused. Fruit, nuts, and plenty of water let my body work efficiently in the background so my mind can focus on other things. Also, having an extra glass of water just before bed and one ready when waking up makes me alert faster in the mornings.

Last is time, although time is really everything when it comes to preparing for a test. I mark my calendar well in advance of any test so that as it approaches I never find myself in a situation where I have another obligation that would prevent me from studying or take my mind off the test at hand. Time management is a skill that one can never be too well versed in. It involves setting time to study, sleep, and eat, but most importantly I find that taking a little time to go outside, read a book, go to the movies or some other fun activity that only takes a few hours can replenish me during test prep.

How people go about taking notes, remembering information, or doing their lucky "test dance" can vary from person to person, so whatever works for someone in that respect is great. My methods for prep can apply to anyone and add little adjustments to a routine that make a huge difference later on.

James from California
College Freshman